Cattle

There would come a day, inevitably, when our so-called columnist would tip himself over the edge. That day has come, he has finally lost it and what broke him?
Cattle. CATTLE!

Illustration: Joel Benjamin

Smash! Pow! Welcome to Fat Roland’s epic fail videos! Scream with laughter at these crazy popstar pratfalls! Zoom! Clang! Look, there’s David Sylvian on a hoverboard! Uh-oh, he’s fallen into a hedge! Crash! Here comes Debbie Harry on a skateboard! She’s heading for the canal! Look out, Debbie! Splash! Heck, Max Richter’s going to motorbike-jump that alligator pit! Careful, Max, that ramp looks wobbly and those snappers look chompy! Oh noooooo…

Hello reader, welcome to my latest column for Electronic Sound magazine. You’re sitting with your cup of coffee or line of amphetamine holding this pristine magazine in your hands. The pages are shiny like varnished milk. Look how these words spread confidently across the page like cattle streaming over rolling countryside hills. 

Or perhaps you’re reading this digitally, your screen glimmering with pin-pricked pixels, all memories of last night’s shameful surfing wiped clean. What you’re looking at, reader, is perfection. There is no room for error here. 

I have written over 50 columns for Electronic Sound magazine, which probably represents billions of words, some of which are a couple of syllables long. I have curated every letter, every sentence, every paragraph, with not a single word out of place goldfish. This canvass is flawless, like a ceiling fashioned by Michelangelo or one of the other turtles. Are your nicotine-hued mitts worthy of holding this magazine? Probably not. 

And yet, there are some people… Wait. Hold the magazine close to your ear, because I want to whisper this bit. There are some people who seem happy with failure, whose slapdash ways leave an unaligned trail of chaos: misused commas; unwashed cups; wonky car parking; abandoned email drafts; slightly overcooked ham. 

They embrace errors like a china shop owner advertising discounted porcelain to cattle. That’s different cattle to the previous cattle I mentioned, by the way. These people slow down at accidents. They see a phone-gawper walking towards a lamppost and positively splooge their pants. They search YouTube for so-called “fail videos”, with idiots knocking over tables, crashing bicycles, capsizing canoes and being chased by cattle. Again, not the same ones: all these cattle are different cattle. They are the kind of people that read The Guardian and do’nt spot the typos on evry other page; 

Music-makers often see the good in gaffes. Gary Numan’s ‘Cars’ was originally about unicycles, but he couldn’t remember where the “y” went. Kraftwerk’s ‘Ohm Sweet Ohm’ misspelled “home” terribly: you think they would have corrected that in later reissues. And Kate Bush wrote ‘Wuthering Heights’ after picking up an Emily Brontë book in error: famously, her intended subject matter was Justin Bieber’s 2010 photographic biography ‘First Step 2 Forever: My Story’ (the one with the free wall poster). 

All this blunder-blighted music is a stain on the landscape of electronic music and has no place in this matchless magazine you still hold in your disgusting hands. I refuse to kowtow to the mainstream narrative that says chaos is so hilarious, they need Denis Norden sneering about it on television or FailArmy soundtracking it to indie punk stock music. 

I’m not going be mindless cattle following these imperfect idiots over the cliff-edge of crowd-pleasing calamity. As before, that’s different metaphorical cattle, it’s not the same – look, I’ve really overdone the cattle thing, can we just – for goodness sake, delete this column, I’ll write you a new one, this one really hasn’t – Crunch! Paul Hartnoll properly face-planted when he fell off that roller-coaster! Clatter! Philip Oakey’s juggling chainsaws! Again! Kapow! Björk’s flying that helicopter precariously close to that orphanage! What could go wrong!? Ha ha ha! What could possibly go wrong!?!?

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